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Effects Headline News

Mr. X Thinks Outside The Box For Hypercube

Toronto-based visual effects company Mr. X, Inc. has been tapped by Lions Gate Entertainment for effects supervision and to create a mix of character animation, photo-realistic environments, effects animation and complete the compositing for Hypercube, the sequel to the 1997 sci-fi thriller Cube. The Mr. X team, led by president Dennis Berardi and visual effects supervisor Aaron Weintraub, are creating the effects for virtually everything that makes the cube a harrowing experience for those trapped within its confines.

Headline News

FilmTecknarna Goes For the Gold

Sweden's Studio FilmTecknarna has just completed two 20-second spots for Triss Instant Ticket Lottery in Sweden. Over the holiday period, Triss will be running their Gold Rush/Guldrushen competition with a top prize of 10 million kronor (approximately US$944,000), an unusually high amount for a Swedish scratch card. FilmTecknarna director Nick Hewitt developed the commercials using Bengt Lindberg's illustrations that are currently featured on the lottery tickets.

Animated Headline News

Asia Gets A Peppermint Flavor

Peppermint's Malaysia-based office has sealed key sales of its catalogue across Asia. Indonesian TV7 has picked up free television rights for pepperkids upcoming animated series, The Spheriks, featuring the official mascots of the 2002 FIFA World Cup, along with preschooler Lena and Paul. Another new property, Evolution - The Animated Series, based on the Ivan Reitman film Evolution, is currently in production with all 26 x 30 episodes to be delivered February 2002.

Headline News

DivX Networks Offers Aid To Independent Filmmakers

DivXNetworks is offering a special program that allows independent filmmakers to license DivX video technology at no cost for certain types of limited commercial use. To promote this program DivX is showing the animated short Killer Bean 2 on the DivX site. Killer Bean 2 was released in 2000 and has been viewed over 1 million times across a number of Websites. The 7-minute short film can now be viewed in full-screen high-resolution DivX format at www.divx.com, along with the trailer for the forthcoming third installment Killer Bean 3.

Animated Headline News

Sitting Ducks In Production

Sitting Ducks Productions, in association with The Disney Channel, Nelvana and Film Roman, will premiere its CGI animated holiday special The Santa Claus Brothers on the Disney Channel in December 2001. The show follows the misadventures of Santa's three bumbling sons as they try to prove that they are worthy of taking over the reins of the big sleigh. Additionally, Sitting Ducks is developing the CGI animated feature film Noah's Blimp with Sony Pictures Family Entertainment with scribe Tab Murphy (Tarzan, Atlantis, The Hunchback of Notre Dame) attached to write the script.

Animation Headline News

This Week At Animation World Magazine

Each week, Animation World Magazine offers new articles, special features and theme-based coverage of the art, craft and industry of animation. New this week:

- SIGGRAPH 2001's N-Space Art GalleryFar away from the buzzing SIGGRAPH floor is the art gallery where high tech meets fine art. Annick Teninge reports on this fascinating realm.

- Two Wildcat II Graphics Cards Reviewed

Headline News

Macromedia And Alias|Wavefront Team For 3December

3D software provider Alias|Wavefront plans to assemble 3D artists from the film, video, game development, Web design, visualization and industrial design sectors in seven separate host cities around the world on December 3, 2001. The 3December event is an annual celebration designed to build a community amongst computer graphics professionals and those with an interest in learning from the industry's top talent and seeing the latest technological advancements. This year the free of charge event will take place in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, London, Tokyo and Seoul.

Final Headline News

Final Fantasy X To Be In Stores By Year's End

Limited quantities of FINAL FANTASY X for the PlayStation 2 will start shipping to retail stores in the U.S. on December 26, 2001, instead of the originally scheduled January 2002. The game was released in Japan on July 19, 2001 and sold through 90% of the 2.14 million units it shipped in the first four days. To date, the FINAL FANTASY series has sold over 35 million units worldwide, making the franchise one of the best-selling series in the history of videogames. In FINAL FANTASY X, the main character, Tidus, is a star player of blitzball, a full contact sport.

Holiday Headline News

Phantom Menace Draws Viewers In First Run on TV

Fox Network preempted its regularly scheduled Sunday night block of animated comedies to air the television premiere of Star Wars: Episode One "The Phantom Menace." The move paid off for the network, with Episode One landing in 17th place for the week, drawing a 9.8 rating/15 share, which translates into over 10 million viewers. Holiday favorite Rudolph The Red-nosed Reindeer aired on CBS on Saturday night at 8 pm and garnered a 6.5 rating/12 share for 43rd place. The U.S.

Animation Headline News

Two New For Toonz Animation India

Roger Dondis and Nelson Uduando have joined Toonz Animation India, as creative director and head of animation respectively. Roger Dondis joins Toonz Animation India from Wild Brain Studios where he worked as animation director and overseas supervisor on feature film productions. Roger has been director, animation director, designer and animator on many commercials and several long format projects. He begins with Toonz Animation India on January 1, 2002. Nelson P. Udaundo joins Toonz Animation India as head of the animation department.

Headline News

Petrov Brings Santa To Life For Coca-Cola

Award-winning director Alexander Petrov and Pascal Blais Productions (PPB) have brought the Coca-Cola Santa Claus character to life in a 30-second spot for Coca-Cola and agency McCann Erickson titled "Classic-Sundblom." The well-known Haddon Sundblom illustration of Santa has been an icon of the Coca-Cola company for 70 years, but this is the first time the character has been animated.

Million Headline News

How The Grinch Stole The DVD Sales Record

Remember when SHREK held the record for highest grossing first week DVD sales? Those were the days. Oh wait, that was just three weeks ago! Another green baddie has the highest grossing sales this week. DR SEUSS' HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS stole the U.S. Thanksgiving weekend video and DVD sales, generating $145 million since its release on November 20, 2001. According to estimates, 8.5 million copies total, including a record 3 million DVDs, were sold.

Headline News

The NBA And McFarlane Toys To Launch Action Figures

McFarlane Toys has acquired its third major sports license this year, this time to create McFarlane's Sports Picks: NBA Basketball collectible figures officially licensed by the National Basketball Association. McFarlane Toys, known for its ability to craft facial likenesses, hopes to bring a new level of detail to the figures representing some of the NBA's leading players. Each action figure will feature official team logos and colors, and come with authentic game apparel specific to that player. Additionally, each player will be sculpted in an action pose.

Effects Headline News

Neighborhood Effects For Life As A House

Santa Monica, California-based effects studio Sassoon Film Design (SFD) completed the visual effects for New Line Cinema's LIFE AS A HOUSE, now in theaters. SFD was the primary effects house and worked with the film's producers from pre-production, supervising on set through to completion of final shots. In the film's final sequence, SFD needed to create the illusion of an idyllic neighborhood with a long helicopter shot of the house that is the center of the story.

Headline News

Cinar Restructures, Cuts Staff

Scandal-plagued children's television producer Cinar Corp. has laid off staff and appointed new auditors in an attempt to restructure its entertainment and corporate divisions. Under the restructuring, Cinar's Montreal staff has been reduced from 164 to 110. While most of the layoffs were corporate positions, 22 employees were cut in Cinar's studios and animation department. The restructuring is the latest of several administrative steps taken during the past 20 months by Cinar's current management to put the company on solid footing once again.

Animation Headline News

Pepper's Ghost & Cambridge team To Distribute PG Studio

Pepper's Ghost Productions (PGP) has inked an agreement with Cambridge Animation Systems whereby Cambridge will be the exclusive worldwide distributor for PGP's production management software tool, PG Studio. PG Studio was developed by PGP to manage all facets of production for its 3D CGI properties. The software was an integral part of the award-winning television series, TINY PLANETS, which was co-produced with Sesame Workshop, and is already on air in Australia, sold to territories throughout the world, and with a U.K. version to be seen on CiTV in the spring of 2002.

Headline News

ComputerCafe Puts Some Fight Into The One

ComputerCafe's animation team created a pair of photorealistic, "chi" police officers and their motorcycles for a critical fight scene in the new Jet Li starrer THE ONE. ComputerCafe also composited the chi stuntmen with live-action plates in which Jet Li appears to engage them in hand-to-hand combat. The finished effects shots are seamlessly intercut with other shots in which real actors and motorcycles were used. Directed by James Wong, THE ONE centers on a sheriff's deputy who confronts an evil alternate version of himself (both played by Li) from a parallel universe.

Headline News

Delaney And Friends Offer Up A Christmas Candy Cane

Vancouver animation house Delaney & Friends Productions has created a new animated Christmas special titled THE LEGEND OF THE CANDY CANE, based on the book of the same name. The one hour direct-to-video movie was produced with Mainstreet Entertainment and Dean River Productions for Zondervan Publishing, a subsidiary of Harper Collins. It will air this Thanksgiving (November 22) on the PAX network in the U.S. THE LEGEND OF THE CANDY CANE is the first of a series of specials based on the Zondervan Publishing library "Legend of" series.

Books Headline News

Jay Jay The Jet Plane Soars Into Bookstores

PorchLight Entertainment has completed negotiations with Penguin Putnam, Inc. and Modern Publishing to license its animated preschool property JAY JAY THE JET PLANE. Under the agreement, Penguin will develop and produce JAY JAY THE JET PLANE story books for the preschooler as well as a variety of novelty books. With a commitment to produce a minimum of eight books throughout 2002, Penguin will adapt story lines from Jay Jay's worldly adventures and include both a Christmas and a spring-themed adaptation.

Headline News

Exluna In Beta Test For Entropy 3.1

Exluna is currently beta testing Entropy 3.1, the first major upgrade for Exluna's groundbreaking new rendering system. The release, available in January 2002, will include a number of improvements such as a plug-in that integrates Entropy directly with Discreet's 3ds max and 3D Studio VIZ software, allowing advanced programmable shading and lighting, in addition to 3ds max network rendering.

Blogs

HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE (2001) (***1/2)

One of the most important things about making a great fantasy/sci-fi film is the creation of the world. That's why HARRY POTTER is so great. The world is rich and borrows a lot from various Greek myths and wizard and witch tales, but finds a way to make it feel refreshingly original.

The story begins with young Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) living under the stairs of his mean aunt and uncle's house. On a visit to the zoo, we learn that Harry has strange abilities that he does not understand. Then the owls arrive, carrying letters inviting Harry to come study at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. However, his uncle Vernon (Richard Griffiths, WITHNAIL & I) wants nothing to do with all this embarrassing witches and wizards hoopla. So the family runs to the countryside, but they can't hide from magic — arriving for Harry is the kind giant Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane, FROM HELL), who takes Harry into a marvelous world that exists in the shadows of the human world.

Blogs

EVIL DEAD 2 (1987) (***1/2)

This film isn't really a sequel to the first EVIL DEAD, but more of a re-envisioning of it. EVIL DEAD 2 takes parts of the original and re-works them with much more success. The story is tighter and moves further away from just lining up teenagers to be killed. This film works wonderfully as a subtle satire of slasher and horror films. This is the film that EVIL DEAD wanted to be.

The story follows Ash (Bruce Campbell) and his girlfriend Linda (Denise Bixler) as they take a trip to a secluded cabin in the woods. Turns out, the location is the place where a scientist unleashed the demons of the Book of the Dead. As Ash battles the evil spirits, the scientist's daughter Annie (Sarah Berry), her research partner Ed (Richard Domeier, DIE HARD 2), redneck Jake (Dan Hicks, DARKMAN) and Jake's girl Bobby Joe (Kassie DePaiva, TV's GUIDING LIGHT) venture out to the cabin, which is now cut off from its main entrance/exit. When they find Ash he has been nearly driven insane by the demons. To free themselves, they must find the pieces of an incantation and recite it before the evil spirits kill them all.

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